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Local HomeSec boat takes down drug runners: VIDEO

Submitted by on 1, July 14, 2009 – 1:00 pmNo Comment

main-1From the better-late-than-never department: I’m just getting the chance to tell you about a dramatic drug bust that the Coast Guard cutter Bertholf, which is stationed here at Alameda Point, made last Wednesday night off the coast of Guatemala.

A maritime patrol aircraft spotted four suspicious “panga” boats in international waters 80 miles off the Guatemalan coast and the Bertholf, which was patrolling in the area as part of an international effort to halt the flow of drugs through the area, was called in. A marksman on the cutter shot out the engines of two of the boats and fired at the others during a pursuit, during which the boats’ occupants were seen to be dumping bales of cocaine into the water.

The boats and four crew members were seized by two of the Bertholf’s interceptor boats, and the Coast Guard captured a bale of cocaine from what they described as a major drug smuggling operation. A search for additional bales is ongoing.

This is the first drug bust by the crew of the Bertholf, which was ported in Alameda and commissioned just under a year ago. The ship is the first of eight planned National Security Cutters being built as part of the Coast Guard’s deepwater major-acquisition and modernization program to replace the 378-foot Hamilton-class high endurance cutters which entered service during the 1960s, according to a Coast Guard press release.

They just released some video of the bust, and here it is.

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